“Star Wars” actor John Boyega gave an impassioned speech at a Black Lives Matter rally in London on Wednesday, telling a crowd through tears that black lives “have always been important.”
Boyega spoke through a megaphone to thousands gathered in London’s Hyde Park to protest the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which has sent shock waves through the U.S. and has inspired similar protests and shows of support around the world.
“I need you to understand how painful it is to be reminded every day that your race means nothing, and that isn’t the case anymore. That is never the case anymore. We are going to try today. We are the physical representation of the support for George Floyd,” Boyega said. “Black lives have always mattered. We have always been important. We have always meant something. We have always succeeded regardless. And now is the time. I ain’t waiting.”
Boyega called for peaceful protests and said it’s important to be organized.
“They want us to mess up. They want us to be disorganized. Not today,” he said.
Boyega also pleaded with black men to respect black women and take care of them as “our hearts” and “our future.”
The actor even said near the end of his remarks, “I don’t know if I’ll have a career after this,” but that he was speaking from his heart. After those particular comments gained attention on the web, many in the industry including Jordan Peele, Mark Hamill, Edgar Wright and many more threw their support behind him.
“The evil that is racism must stop. We will commit to being part of the change that is long overdue in the world. John Boyega, you are our hero,” “Star Wars” and Lucasfilm said in a statement.
Boyega last week gained attention and praise for shutting down trolls after he posted a tweet saying “I really f—ing hate racists.” Boyega doubled down on his remarks in an Instagram Live video after that statement somehow proved offensive to some of his followers who said he shouldn’t comment on issues in the United States.
“Although I don’t live in the States, I’m black … So I’ll say it again: f— you racist white people. I said what I said,” Boyega said. “You lot can’t rattle me. I’m not the guy to be rattled. I wasn’t raised by no weak people.”
Check out some clips from Boyega’s London rally speech below:
— Kemp (@KEMP_88) June 3, 2020
“Black lives have always mattered. We have always been important. We have always meant something. We have always succeeded regardless. And now is the time. I ain’t waiting,” @johnboyega just told #BlackLivesMatter protesters in London’s Hyde Park pic.twitter.com/P49cbwIp6P
— Haley Ott (@haleyjoelleott) June 3, 2020
— Manori (@manori_r) June 3, 2020
— Star Wars (@starwars) June 3, 2020